- February 5, 2016
After a productive first week, moving roughly 12,000 cubic yards of sand, the biggest concern for those involved with the dredging project on the south end of Longboat Key has come to pass.
Mother Nature shut the $5 million beach project down, at least for a few days.
Longboat Key Public Works and Utilities Director Juan Florensa said his biggest concern – even before the project began - was weather interfering with the crew from Norfolk Dredging Co. of Chesapeake, Va.
The 150-foot NDC dredge named Pullen has been towed to Tampa Bay Harbor for safekeeping while Tropical Depression 9 makes its way through the Gulf of Mexico. The dredge is vulnerable to choppy water as it has no means of self-propulsion.
Gear still on the beachfront will be guarded until it’s safe to bring the dredge back sometime before the weekend, according to the Town of Longboat Key website.
The weather delay puts the four-week project behind schedule. Just 12,226 cubic yards of sand was dredged during the first week of an estimated 200,000 cubic yards of sand scheduled to come from New Pass onto the shoreline between L’Ambiance and Regent Place.
Sand dredged from the New Pass channel borrow area is being delivered via submerged pipeline to the southern L’Ambiance Condominium boundary to begin building the beach northward to Regent Place.
Before the storm, the New Pass portion of the project was expected to be complete about Sept. 15.
Once south-end sand placement is done, dredging will move to the north end of the Key, using 250,000 cubic yards of sand from Longboat Pass to fill two critically eroded areas south of Gulfside Road, according to Florensa.
Florensa said the U.S. Coast Guard could mark the New Pass channel navigable again after dredging is done.